Open Letter to Politicians & Candidates

Janet Christy

Dear Politician/Candidate,

As a representative of and a consultant to Small Businesses, especially woman and minority owned, I have some advice that will help you get elected, re-elected and, even more importantly, serve effectively.

First say what you mean and mean what you say. Here are a few tips to help you with this:

  • Don’t cushion your statements with silly works such as “I would tell/say to you that I…” Instead have the courage to say “I will”, “I believe”, “I want”, etc.
  • Don’t speak in the third person. Instead of saying “My campaign/office/etc.”, just say “I”.
  • If you are going to talk about someone else (another candidate, elected official, business leader, etc.) don’t put an “a” in front of his/her name. For example, don’t say “A Joe Biden” or “A Paul Ryan”. If you use the “a” instead of just saying the name, you appear fearful, condescending or elitist.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary words. Why has it become necessary to say “The American People”? What other people would a politician/candidate be talking about?

We run businesses, we use jargon like this when we are unsure or feel the need to be evasive. So when you use this language, that is how we see you and we do not really want to elect someone who is unsure or evasive.

Be direct. Small Business People like to get to the meat course very quickly. So, those of you who focus on the What and How will keep our attention longer and be more likely to get our vote. Here are some phrases that raise our suspicions or cause us to tune you out:

  • Small Businesses are the backbone of the country
  • Small Businesses are vital to our economy
  • Women need more voice, a seat at the table, etc.
  • Minorities deserve more opportunities, fair share, etc.

We know these things and we’ve heard them before. What you can and are willing to do to make them more than phrases is what we are interested in.

We want revenue. Tax breaks are nice, but what we really need are opportunities to get revenue. Revenue will help us:

  • Stay in business
  • Hire employees
  • Have something to pay taxes on
  • Support your campaign

Small Business Owners/Entrepreneurs must have certain capabilities and do certain things to be successful. We are looking for candidates that have the political equivalents. We want to see:

  • An actual plan
  • Courage
  • Proof of concept
  • The financials
  • How you will get others to cooperate/participate/fund/etc. (a marketing plan)
  • Exit strategy (justification to let you stay for a long time and/or what will you do to ensure things keep going if you don’t get re-elected)


Small Business Owner

Janet Christy, Founder and President of consulting firm, Leverage & Development, LLC
Copyright 2012 Author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

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